President Trump has indicated he would likely sign a bill co-authored by Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) that would loosen federal restrictions on marijuana.
The bill, among other things, would clear the way for banks and credit unions to do business with cannabis-related companies in states that have legalized marijuana for medical or recreational purposes, the Cooperative Credit Union Association reported. The association represents credit unions in Delaware and New England.
Trump’s view appears to be at odds with Attorney General Jeff Sessions who has defended federal marijuana laws and has not ruled out more forceful action by the government, even in cases related to medical marijuana.
Warren, a long-time foe of Trump, co-sponsored the legislation with Senator Cory Gardner (R- CO). Colorado was the first state to legalize cannabis for recreational use.
The bill introduced in the Senate would exempt persons complying with state marijuana laws from the federal marijuana ban. It was referred to the Senate Committee on the Judiciary, the credit union association noted.
Despite its rapid growth, legal marijuana remains a business that is often outside the banking system. That has led to concerns that cash-fueled businesses could be used for money laundering and other activities.
Banks and credit unions have been wary of providing services to cannabis-related businesses given the potential conflicts between federal and state laws.
Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ) was another six co-sponsors of The Warren-Gardner bill, also known as the Strengthening the Tenth Amendment Through Entrusting States Act, according to the credit union association, which represents Delaware and states in New England.
New Jersey does seem to be moving toward full legalization after the departure of long-time legalization for Gov. Chris Christie.
It appears unlikely that Delaware will legalize marijuana in the near future as estimates have indicated the state would not see a major spike in tax revenues.
The measure has also drawn opposition from the medical community, some areas of law enforcement and Wilmington-based AAA Mid-Atlantic.
The First State was one of the first to legalize medical marijuana. However, the administration of Gov. Jack Markell was wary of the legal implications of medical cannabis and delayed rolling out of a system of growers and dispensaries.
There were also concerns about the process of awarding the first contract for growing and dispensing medical marijuana to the First State Compassion Center, a group that included a well-connected former lobbyist and congressional aide. One of the partners does have experience in the medical marijuana area.
First State has a grow center and dispensary on Germay Drive near Wilmington and a dispensary in Lewes.
Work is now underway on a grow and dispensary site on Ogletown Road at a former gardening center. Another is slated for Smyrna. The centers will be operated by companies with backgrounds in medical marijuana.